Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kroze Marker Placement accomplished!!

After almost 15 years, the deed is finally done. I was beginning to think just this month that is was not to be with all the fits and starts this project has had. In fact we had 2 different placement dates, and if it wouldn't have happened this Monday, well who knows if it would have gotten done this year.

First off, I want to thank everyone that has provided input on this project. I truly appreciate all of the proof reading and comments. Your support, whether monetary or morale was appreciated more than you may realize.

So how did it finally go on Monday? Well, Joey and Mrs. Peggy agreed to meet me at the Kroze cemetery early Monday morning. It was a cold and blustery day for the middle of August. Our point man Darren Nelson of Stennes Granite arrived about 9am with his son Tanner riding shotgun. After a brief consultation, Darren pointed out the marker was fairly heavy, something on the order of 800 pounds. And, that getting it to the gravesite of Francszek would be a somewhat "monumental" (pun intended) task if he could not manuever the truck with overhead crane closer. In effect, we would have to get it there by hand cart. Neither Joey or I were too enthused about that prospect. The problem as we saw it was that to get the truck closer to the gravesite required us to find a path across existing graves. And many of those were from around the turn of the last century, before those cement enclosures were being used. In other words we were concerned that the weight of the pickup and several ton of granite could possibly cave in an existing grave. Since the majority of the Wilebski clan is not exactly in good graces with the Kroze congregation, we were somewhat concerned about the prospects.

After much discussion, the decision was made to try get the truck closer to the site and take the chance it would not fall into any existing grave. It worked, perhaps due to some unknown force. But again, we didn't damage any graves in the process.

Upon looking at the grave with the original cross, we reiterated our desire to salvage the original marker. This cement cross was constructed by Frank's son Tom, who we found out made quite a few of these monuments prior to his leaving the area to become a carpenter for a railroad in St. Paul.

Darren from Stennes was more than happy to move the existing marker, but was concerned that it would break if we tried to do so. Again, Joey and I agreed to take responsibility if it broke. But we were somewhat nervous. As with everything this day that went right, we were able to free the existing original marker with ease and place it at the back of the gravesite while we installed the new memorial.

All of this went quite well. Throughout the process Peggy was our final word in the placement and alignment of both the new memorial and the replacement of the original cement cross marker. Mega thanks to her and Joey for being there, as I am not sure it would have turned out as well if I were there on my own.

I have attached a few of the pictures of the process for your viewing pleasure.

Oh, almost forgot to tell you that decades ago when our family was still a part of that congregation and our family worked to raise money and clean up the cemetery, a map of the graves was obtained. Suprisingly, Frank's brother Peter Wilebski is buried beside him, but there is no grave marker. For those of you wondering about Peter, he was perhaps the most instrumental person in terms of establishing the Polish community up in Kroze, or Richardville Township. He was the one who enticed Poles, many of which were originally from the Posnan area in Poland, to move farther North. This he did with letters to Polish language newspapers in the Chicago area, and of course via word of mouth to those who had already moved from Chicago to the Wilno/Ivanhoe (Minnesota) area. It's a shame this pioneer of the community lies in an unmarked grave.

FYI, this is also the father of our grandfather Joe's second partner, Antonia. We also believe that Peter's wife is buried not too far away in yet another unmarked grave which is labeled Mrs. Wilebski on the handwritten chart. Perhaps once we finish paying for these 2 stones for the great grandparents, we may want to think of some way of identifying these individuals too. Just a thought.

The next blog entry will relate to our Florian experience.

1 comment:

Kathy Wilebski Schafer said...

The first photo of Fred and Joe standing by this monument which the Joe Wilebski family have made a reality is such a tribute to Franceszek (and Antonia) Wilebski, our great-grandparents, that words cannot express how proud I am of this accomplishment. All I can say is thank you for doing this. Cousin Kathy